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Full Cirlce

Hello everyone!
Well here I am. After 24+ hours I’m home. I feel numb and jet lagged. I’m sure both will wear off soon, but the experiences of this trip will last a lifetime.

I planned to upload video of my final thoughts while I was still in Zambia. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any power the last day. So, without further adieu………


PS-Please try not to laugh at the preview pictures. I have no idea how YouTube decides which frame of video to use, but it always seems to be the goofiest picture.

Planting the Seeds of Sustainability

Hello everyone!
Today we visited the proposed farm in Livingstone. The Zambian Delegation is considering using the farm to provide a sustainable income for the delegation. The land and house was purchased for pennies on the dollar and provides rich soil, a stream for irrigation, and land for grazing. It is believed by some that the farm could generate enough money to cover as much as a third of the delegations budget. The farm is another example of the Oblates drive for self-sustainability.

Today we also interviewed Fr. Pat Gitzen, OMI, the last of the original our Oblates that came to Zambia. All I can say is ‘wow’. I can’t wait to share his interview with you. Unfortunately, it will have to wait until we get back and it can be edited.

At the end of the day, we were able to visit Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world. It was amazing, and offered a stark contrast to all the dust and dirt we had encountered so far. It was also some much appreciated downtime after what has been an intense schedule.

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Pictures of the farm house

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The caretaker’s garden on the farmland. An example of the fertile soil.

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It’s not all dust and sand. Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Off We Go

Hello again!
Sorry for yesterday’s bummer post. Visiting the hospice was a necessary but gut wrenching experience. I can’t give enough praise to the people who do hospice work.

It may be a few days before I post again. We are heading off to Livingston to visit the proposed farm of the Oblates Zambian Delegation. We’ll also do a few interviews. I’m not sure about Internet access since the farm house is not being used. Any access we get will have to be in town.
Take care,
Dave

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The Forgotten

Today was an emotionally draining day. We visited Our Lady’s Hospice in Lusaka. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate are one of the main contributors to the hospice. The hospice serves approximately 30 inpatients and 4-5,000 outpatients. Currently, the rate of AIDS/HIV infection in Zambia is over 16%. The hospice provides care for those with HIV/AIDS, TB, cancer, and many other life threatening afflictions. There are occasionally success stories, but unfortunately most stories end tragically.

Sister Josephine Isabella, who is head of the accounts department, gave us a tour of the facility. She also gave the inside story concerning financing of the hospice. It turns out, that since the financial downturn, many charities that previously supported the hospice have pulled funding and reallocated it to preventive care. This has put a real burden on the hospice.

While the government provides ARVs for those afflicted with HIV/AIDS, the hospice must provide all other medications. These medications include treatment for TB, cancer, and other diseases, as well as, testing and lab work, and pain medication. Maintenance and salaries are also huge burdens. Sister Josephine says that people often want to donate to infrastructure projects, but rarely to the cost of day-to-day operations.

The hospice does try to offset some cost. They have a large garden that provides all of the vegetables for the hospice. They also have a few rooms they are able to rent out for meetings and conferences. This helps some, but doesn’t come close to what is needed.

During the tour, we had the opportunity to visit with some of the patients. The were very happy to have visitors. In front of the facility was a makeshift hurst, complete with casket, ready for transport. It was a harsh reminder that most people at the hospice will never recover.

Near the end of the tour we came to a place I wasn’t ready for, the children’s building. I can’t describe the heartbreak I felt, and still feel. Some of the children were so weak they could barely shake hands. I found out later that one young girl is an orphan. She was abandoned, but thanks to the hospice she will not die alone.

To say today was a challenge would be an understatement. Thank the Lord that Our Lady’s Hospice is able to provide some comfort and dignity for those otherwise forgotten people.

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Sister Josephine Isabella

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Pictures of the hospice

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Some of the patients

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The unfortunate reality of hospice work

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The garden

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The real heartbreak, the children

A Time for Work

Today is a light day, so not much to update. Today, we went to Fr. Sydney’s first Mass. Fr. Sydney when to the pre-novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois and to the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. Here are a few pictures from today.

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Time for a Celebration

Today was the ordination. It was over five hours long. That’s even long in Zambian time. Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI, the Bishop of San Angelo, Texas was the presider. It had special meaning for Bishop Pfeifer since he was Provincial of the Southern Province and made the decision to send Oblates to Zambia back in 1984.

The newly ordained include Fr. Humphrey Milimo, OMI, Fr. Chibwe Tembo, OMI, Fr. Sydney Musonda, OMI, Fr. Emmanuel Mulenga, OMI, and Fr. Julius Masaiti of the Redemptorist.

Now it’s time to celebrate!

Here are some sights and sounds do the ceremony.

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Returning to Lusaka

THIS POST IS FROM YESTERDAY. WE HAD NO POWER AND WERE RUNNING OFF OF GENERATOR.

Hello and greetings from Lusaka. Today was a slow day, so not much to update.

We started early this morning. I finally was able to have a hot shower. Unfortunately, half of it was in complete darkness as the power went out and it was still dark outside. After about ten hours of travel we have final arrived at the Makeni House of Formation. So much for six hours 🙂

Once arriving at Makeni we were greeted by Fr. Ron Walker, OMI and Fr. Pat Gitzen, OMI. Fr. Pat is the last remaining Oblate of the original four who came to Zambia in 1984.

Tomorrow is a big day. The ordinations start at 9:00 am. I’ll post as much as I can.

Dave

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Some animals we saw along the way back to Lusaka

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We even saw a LION! Unfortunately, we were not fast enough to get a picture. So, this re-enactment will have to do.

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Makeni in the morning